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Space Kidz India Plans”Vikrmsat” Satellite To Conduct Biological Experiments In Space

Kalamsat will be the first to use the rocket's fourth stage as an orbital platform. The fourth stage will be moved to higher circular orbit

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A satellite, (representational Image), Pixabay

Chennai-based Space Kidz India plans to build a satellite – Vikramsat – to do some biological experiment in space, said a top official.

She also said her dream of putting a satellite built by students will become a reality on January 24 night when an Indian rocket Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) will carry a small communication satellite Kalamsat.

“We are planning to build a satellite called Vikramsat to do some biological experiment in the space. By this we hope to contribute in a small way to India’s ambitious human space mission Gaganyaan,” Srimathy Kesan, Founder CEO of Space Kidz India, told IANS.

Speaking about the nano-satellite Kalamsat, she said it was a 10cm cube, 1.2 kg communication satellite with a life span of two months. The satellite cost was about Rs.12 lakh.

According to her, Kalamsat will be the first satellite of Space Kidz India to be in a proper orbit as its earlier satellites were suborbital ones.

Space Kidz India is working towards promoting art, science and culture for students of India, create an international platform for them.

India will open its 2019 space programme account on January 24 night by launching imaging satellite Microsat-R for the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and Kalamsat.

The satellites will be carried by a new variant of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket.

space kidsz india
Chennai-based Space Kidz India plans to build a satellite – Vikramsat – to do some biological experiment in space, said a top official.

“We will be launching 700-kg Microsat-R and Kalamsat with a new variant of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). In order to reduce the weight and increase the mass, an aluminum tank is used for the first time in the fourth stage,” K. Sivan, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), told IANS.

The PSLV is a four-stage engine expendable rocket with alternating solid and liquid fuel.

In its normal configuration, the rocket will have six strap-on motors hugging the rocket’s first stage.

PSLV , ISRO, wikimedia commons

However, the PSLV that would fly on January 24 with Microsat R and Kalamsat will be a two strap-on motors configuration and is designated as PSLV-DL.

The Indian space agency is planning to have the launch at about 11.40 p.m. on January 24.

The rocket PSLV-C44 is the first mission of PSLV-DL and is a new PSLV variant.

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Kalamsat will be the first to use the rocket’s fourth stage as an orbital platform. The fourth stage will be moved to higher circular orbit so as to establish an orbital platform for carrying out experiments.

Space Kidz India’s Kesan is a happy woman as Kalamsat will be entering the history books on that account. (IANS)

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NASA Satellite Reveals More Plants are Growing Around Everest

According to the researchers, snow falls and melts here seasonally, and they don't know what impact changing subnival vegetation will have on this aspect of the water cycle - which is vital because this region (known as 'Asia's water towers') feeds the ten largest rivers in Asia

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Mount Everest
FILE - Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is seen in this aerial view March 25, 2008. VOA

Researchers have found that plant life is growing and expanding around Mount Everest and across the Himalayan region as the area continues to experience the consequences of global warming.

According to the study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, the research team from University of Exeter in UK, used satellite data to measure the extent of subnival vegetation – plants growing between the treeline and snowline – in this vast area.

Little is known about these remote, hard-to-reach ecosystems, made up of short-stature plants (predominantly grasses and shrubs) and seasonal snow, but the study revealed they cover between five and 15 times the area of permanent glaciers and snow.

Using data from 1993 to 2018 from NASA’s Landsat satellites, researchers measured small but significant increases in subnival vegetation cover across four height brackets from 4,150-6,000 metres above sea level.

“These large-scale studies using decades of satellite data are computationally intensive because the file sizes are huge. We can now do this relatively easily on the cloud by using Google Earth Engine, a new and powerful tool freely available to anyone, anywhere,” said study researcher Dominic Fawcett, who coded the image processing.

The Hindu Kush Himalayan region extends across all or part of eight countries, from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east. More than 1.4 billion people depend on water from catchments emanating here.

According to the study, results varied at different heights and locations, with the strongest trend in increased vegetation cover in the bracket 5,000-5,500m.

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Around Mount Everest, the team found a significant increase in vegetation in all four height brackets. Conditions at the top of this height range have generally been considered to be close to the limit of where plants can grow.

Though the study doesn’t examine the causes of the change, the findings are consistent with modelling that shows a decline in “temperature-limited areas” (where temperatures are too low for plants to grow) across the Himalayan region due to global warming.

Other research has suggested Himalayan ecosystems are highly vulnerable to climate-induced vegetation shifts.

“A lot of research has been done on ice melting in the Himalayan region, including a study that showed how the rate of ice loss doubled between 2000 and 2016,” said researcher Karen Anderson.

“It’s important to monitor and understand ice loss in major mountain systems, but subnival ecosystems cover a much larger area than permanent snow and ice and we know very little about them and how they moderate water supply,” Anderson added.

According to the researchers, snow falls and melts here seasonally, and they don’t know what impact changing subnival vegetation will have on this aspect of the water cycle – which is vital because this region (known as ‘Asia’s water towers’) feeds the ten largest rivers in Asia.

Researcher Anderson said “some really detailed fieldwork” and further validation of these findings is now required to understand how plants in this high-altitude zone interact with soil and snow. (IANS)